PHOENIX — Downtown Phoenix businesses are eagerly awaiting basketball fans who will bring their passion -- and their wallets -- to downtown as the Phoenix Suns are set to take part in their first playoff match up in a decade this weekend.
The Suns last played in the playoffs in 2010, right around the time The Duce, a nightlife hangout with a boxing ring, live music, and small bites, opened near Central Avenue and Lincoln Street, a few blocks southwest of the arena.
"A lot of excitement downtown. We saw what it was like ten years ago, so we're definitely looking forward to it," said Jake Rosenstein, who runs The Duce.
When they opened a decade ago, Rosenstein said they banked on big basketball crowds that became a staple with the Suns, a mainstay among the top teams in the league during a good portion of the 2000s.
"We definitely thought we had that to rely on when we opened," he said. "That's for sure."
As the Suns winning ways took a U-turn after 2010, Rosenstein said they tweaked the business model, creating more of their own entertainment to draw customers rather than waiting for the pre- and post-game crowds to come to them.
North of the arena, the owner of The Kettle Black Kitchen & Pub is also anxiously awaiting the postseason crowds.
"Hopefully, it means some great business," said Thomas Montgomery, co-owner of The Kettle Black Kitchen and Pub, which is near First and Washington streets.
Since opening in 2016, they haven't been able to experience that postseason excitement from the Suns yet.
"We're going to have all hands on deck here this Sunday for the first playoff game," Montgomery said. "Moving forward, we're going to be ready to rock and roll. We're super excited and looking forward to a great postseason."
It's a similar message echoed by The Warehouse District Council, which represents The Warehouse District, which includes the bars, restaurants, and buildings in and around downtown Phoenix and the PHX Suns Arena.
"I think they're really vital," said Brian Cassidy, chair of the Warehouse District Council. "It reminds me of the good old days where the Suns were regularly in the playoffs...you have to realize, the arena is the monumental event that rebuilt downtown and got it going on this great trajectory."
As a fan and a business owner, Rosenstein said he is excited about the Suns postseason run.
"It's really exciting, from, just, really a downtown perspective," Rosenstein said. "Being a business owner, being involved in the community down here, it's just a great thing for the city."
The Duce plans to have drink specials during the game for fans to watch and will also have an old school bus available to transport people to and from the arena, he said.
"The Suns have a unique...hold on the community," he said. "When they are really good and rolling, it's just an energy that's pretty unmatched."